Crop Report: Issue 25, October 20, 2014


Weekly Provincial Summary

  • Provincially, harvest of spring cereals is estimated at over 95% complete, canola 90% complete, flax 80% complete, edible beans 95% complete, soybeans 70% complete, sunflowers 60% complete and grain corn 15 to 20% complete.
  • Crop yields in Manitoba are generally at or slightly above 10 year average yields. However, lower than average yields were reported in some areas of the province, largely due to extreme weather events during the growing season impacting seeding date, stand establishment and crop development.
  • Quality for majority of crop types is average to below average. Cereal crops saw a decrease in quality due to poor weather conditions at harvest. Significant downgrading in winter wheat also resulted from higher than normal levels of fusarium damaged kernels caused by fusarium head blight.
  • The number of winter wheat acres seeded in fall of 2014 is down substantially, due to a delayed harvest which reduced stubble availability for seeding winter wheat into, above average yields of spring wheat including general purpose-type wheats, and fusarium head blight impacting yield and quality of the 2013 crop. Germination and stand establishment of winter wheat this fall is rated at good to excellent.
  • Fall field work, including tillage, soil testing, post-harvest weed control and fertilizer applications of anhydrous ammonia is on-going.


Southwest Region

Excellent harvest progress was made in the Southwest Region, although much of the crop harvested continues to be taken off at damp and tough moisture levels. The overall cereal harvest is estimated at 90% complete, although there are some pockets which still have substantial acres remaining to be harvested. Majority of the remaining cereal harvest includes late seeded oats and wheat. Quality loss is noted in most spring wheat samples; however, the majority of the crop has graded as either #1 or #2 CWRS.

The barley and field pea harvest is complete with barley and pea yields generally below long term averages due to the excessive early spring rains and root rot issues.  Oat yields have been generally at or above long term average yields with average bushel weights.

The canola harvest is also estimated at 90% complete. Canola for the most part has cured well after the recent rains with no significant issues with green seed and generally above long term average yields reported.

The flax and soybean harvest are well underway with early flax yields of 25 to 35 bu/acre in flax and 30 to 45 bu/acre in soybeans. There has been generally good quality and minimal green seed issues in soybeans.

The sunflower and grain corn crops are awaiting dry down with no reports of harvesting yet.

Top soil moisture conditions across the region are adequate to surplus and drying out as a result of the drier and warmer weather conditions.  Fall field operations are well underway with fall fertilization and fall weed control operations ongoing.

The majority of the second cut alfalfa is harvested with generally above average quality and yields, which should help alleviate feed shortages. Silage operations in barley and corn are ongoing with average yields reported. Cattle continue to be moved to harvested crop residue for grazing with winter born calves now being weaned.


Northwest Region

Favourable harvest weather of drying winds and warm temperatures throughout the Northwest Region resulted in harvest operations moving ahead significantly. The favorable weather also allowed major progress to be made in fall tillage operations and fertilizer applications.
The wheat harvest is approximately 95% complete. The average yield for hard red spring wheat is 50 bu/acre with about 15% of the crop grading #1 CWRS, 45% grading #2 CWRS, and 40% grading #3 CWRS and less.
The canola harvest is 95% finished. Reported canola yields range from 15 bu/acre to over 40 bu/acre. The average canola yield is down from last year and is estimated to be 30 bu/acre. The quality of canola harvested is 25% 1 Can, 65% 2 Can and the remainder 3 Can and sample.
Approximately 80% of the soybean crop is harvested. The average yield is estimated at 25 bu/acre, with 75% grading 2 CAN and 25% grading 3 CAN. Harvest of the field pea crop is complete with an average yield of 35 bu/acre grading 2 CAN. The flax crop is approximately 80% complete with an average yield of 23 bu/acre. Most of the flax is grading 2 CW.
The major limitation to crop production for 2014 in the Northwest Region was excessive moisture. Excessive moisture conditions resulted in crops being seeded 2 to 3 weeks later than normal and heavy rains throughout the growing season continuously stressed crop development. Drowned out areas of various sizes were common to many fields.
Producers did an adequate job of applying fungicides to susceptible crops at the most beneficial stage resulting in limited disease issues.
Insect issues throughout the region were limited over the growing season with the most severe being a lygus bug infestation in the northern part of the Swan River Valley where some fields required treatment.
Most fields in the region that are harvested are tilled and producers are in the midst of applying fall fertilizer.
Greenfeed harvest continues; however, there are issues with dry down and nitrates. Cattle remaining on pastures are supplemented with feed, or being moved to second cut alfalfa or crop residue fields. Some second cut remain to be baled. Silage harvest is continuing with 75% complete.

Central Region

Rainfall was minimal this past week in the Central Region, and abnormally warm weather allowed for excellent harvest, field work and fertilization progress.
The spring of 2014 got off to a slow start after a long, extremely cold winter. A slow melt due to overnight temperatures below freezing into May made for cool soils, and significant rainfall kept the soils wet, with many seeding delays. In many cases, earlier seeded crop sat in cool wet soils and was slow to germinate. Crops seeded later, when soils warmed up, fared better than those that struggled to germinate under adverse conditions. Seeding progress was sporadic across the region, dependent on weather and soil conditions, and harvest saw similar scenarios.
Cool temperatures and frosts in the spring slowed growth of winter wheat, pasture and hay crops. Winterkill in winter wheat was higher than average, largely attributed to poor stubble conditions and extremely cold conditions after snow melt caused; those fields with better stubble held on to the snow cover longer. Excess moisture was a problem for pasture stands, and the extended cold weather made for poor pasture conditions in the spring; supplemental feeding for livestock was necessary in to early June.
Seeding didn’t start until mid-May, and was later than average. Some acres initially planned for soybeans were seeded to canola in order to meet crop insurance deadlines. Reseeded winter wheat went primarily to spring wheat with the remainder to canola and soybeans. Other spring stresses included insect damage to seedling crops, primarily cutworms and flea beetles, although some wireworm damage was reported. Some re-seeding did result. Due to the later seeding, very little pre-seed burnoff occurred.
Excess moisture conditions continued to cause problems in some areas throughout the season, particularly in the northwest. Heavy rains throughout the spring and into July caused flooding and land went unseeded due to excess moisture. Producers seeded around wet areas and potholes. Drains and creeks ran full into July, and rivers flowed out of their banks. Hay, pasture and some crop was flooded along Lake Manitoba in the Delta, Lakeland, Westlake and Whitemud River areas. Wild hay along Lake Manitoba was unharvestable this year.
Rainfall had an impact to yields as a couple of big rains resulted in significantly lower yields, particularly in canola and soybeans. Cooler conditions and continued rains caused concern about crops maturing before fall frosts, particularly for the longer season crops. Herbicide applications were a struggle due to adverse weather conditions, and both weed control and crop tolerance issues resulted. Rutting was evident in many fields. In general, earlier seeded crops fared better than later seeded crops as they handled the heavy rains better. Rains slowed later in July, and some areas that missed the heavy rains suffered from dry conditions. Soybeans were impacted by limited rainfall in August.
Harvest was delayed due to the later seeding and rains at the beginning of the season. Harvest has been a struggle, due to continued rains and poor conditions. Heavy dews and scattered showers also limited the hours of harvesting. Cereal crop types were impacted the most. The earliest harvested spring wheat, oats and barley were generally good quality, but when the rains started, mildew and sprouting became a concern. In many cases, producers chose to harvest canola and soybeans before going back to finish up the cereal harvest.
Harvest of winter wheat started in August, and continued well into September. Yields ranged from 50 to 80 bu/acre, averaging in the 60 to 65 bu/acre range. Proteins were average to below average. Quality was impacted by high levels of fusarium damaged kernel (FKD) levels, as well as downgrading due to mildew and sprouting with the poor harvest conditions. Ergot was evident in some fields, as well as in fall rye.
Spring wheat yields ranged from 45 to 90 bu/acre, with most reporting a 60 to 65 bu/acre average for their areas. Variability in quality was due to where and when the rains fell; with excess moisture causing downgrading at harvest. There was a much lower impact from fusarium head blight, if any. Colour loss due to rain accounted for some downgrading; the majority was due to mildew and sprouting. Protein levels averaged 12 to 13.5%. There were also a few reports of downgrading due to ergot.  General purpose wheats ranged from 60 to 100 bu/acre, with lower proteins noted on the higher yielding fields.
Barley yields ranged from 70 to 120 bu/acre, with an average of 85 bu/acre. Quality is not as good this year, with downgrading due to poor harvest conditions.
Oats ranged from 80 to 140 bu/acre, averaging 100 to 120 bu/acre. More of the crop was downgraded this year due to poor harvest conditions; downgrading is due to mildew and sprouting. The majority of crop had good to excellent bushel weights, with some thins reported.
Canola yields were excellent, benefiting from the extended flowering period due to cooler temperatures in July. The crop struggled early on; seed sat in cold ground for an extended period, making it more susceptible to flea beetle and seedling diseases. Cutworms were an issue in a number of fields. Some fields were reseeded due to the early season stresses. Many fields had problems with blackleg, sclerotinia was minimal, and disease had little impact to yield this year. There were a few reports of flea beetle and/or grasshopper damage to canola late in the season, with some impact to yield. Yields were variable, ranging from 20 to 75 bu/acre, averaging around 40 to 45 bu/acre. Quality is excellent for the most part, with majority grading 1CAN. Minimal downgrading due to green count occurred this year. There was some sprouting where canola lay in swath for extended periods.
Flax yields range from 25 to 40 bu/acre. Quality is good. Peas averaged 40 to 65 bu/acre with harvest complete.
Iron chlorosis was evident in edible and soybean fields through the end of July. Both crops were shorter than average. Edible bean harvest is complete. Yields are lower than last year, averaging 1800 lbs/acre, with most ranging from 1600 to 22000 lbs/acre. Quality is good. White mould was reported with no significant yield or quality loss.
Soybean harvest is nearly complete. Yields vary from 20 to 55 bu/acre, averaging 35 bu/acre. Higher yields were obtained in areas receiving timely rains, and this was particularly noticeable in the later maturity varieties; August rains came too late for the early maturing varieties. White mould was reported with minimal impact to yield or quality. Little, if any, impact from soybean aphid were reported, but cutworms were an issue early on and some reseeding took place. Maturity was a big concern at the end of July and some harvest didn’t start until October. Frost in the middle of September halted further development of the crop, with much relief there wasn’t a significant frost earlier. Growers will look carefully at variety selection and seeding date for the 2015 season.
Sunflower harvest has started with much of the early yields coming in at 1600 to 2000 lbs/acre. A few higher yields in the high 2000 lbs/acre to low 3000 lbs/acre have been reported. Quality reported to date is good, with some reports of staining due to head rot.
Grain corn harvest continues. Early yields range from 90 to 140 bu/acre, with average yields to date in the 100 to 110 bu/acre range. Moisture levels range from the mid 20% to over 30%, but are declining. Many will wait for further dry down before harvest to limit the cost of drying. Corn silage is wrapping up.
Impact of disease in most crops is lower than expected. Root rots were evident in many crops, both early on and later in the season when soils dried out. Sclerotinia was evident in all susceptible crops, but at low levels, with little if any impact to yield. Most of the later canola fields were not treated with fungicide. Blackleg lesions were evident in many canola fields. Aster yellows was almost non-existent in canola. Some brown-girdling root rot was found. Leaf spotting diseases, including brown spot and bacterial blight, were evident in soybeans, and bacterial blight in edible beans. Fusarium head blight was a huge issue in winter wheat, but less of a problem in spring wheat and barley. Poor weather conditions at harvest were responsible for most of the downgrading in cereals.
The main insect problems this year were flea beetles, cutworms and grasshoppers. Isolated spraying continued to the end of August for grasshoppers. Some wireworm problems were noted early in the season. Some bertha armyworm feeding was found in canola, along with diamondback moth larvae and some lygus damage. Minimal insecticide applications were necessary.
Soil testing continues. Results are variable, but there are many reports of very low soil test nitrogen and phosphorous, due to good yields this year. In the case of phosphorous (P), there are several reasons: tighter rotations leaning to big phosphorous-using crops, changes in seeding implements that limit the amount of P safely applied with seed, changes to crops (i.e. soybeans) that are very sensitive to seed-placed P but are big users of P, and a trend to higher average yields while applied P levels remain the same.
Fall cultivation continues with excellent progress made in much of the region.  The majority of harvested fields have seen one tillage pass, except in the northwest areas. Post harvest weed control was limited due to harvest pressures and poor weather conditions.
Fall fertilizing has begun with excellent progress made in many areas. Good conditions allow for anhydrous ammonia application, although conditions were cloddy for some producers at the start. Many will wrap up planned acres by the end of this week or next with the excellent forecast. There is an increase in fall phosphate fertilizer applications, due to low soil test P levels, as well as equipment limitations for spring seed-placed or side-banded applications at ‘seed-safe’ levels. Manure application is being made as conditions allow.
The percentage of crop residue burned is very low this year. Demand for straw continues to be good, and much of the straw is baled. Excellent choppers improved the ease of returning straw to the soil.
Winter wheat seeded is reduced by as much as 50% due to various reasons, including: the higher levels of winterkill experienced this spring, higher levels of FDK, later canola harvest limiting available stubble, changes in MASC insurance policies, and the excellent yields of various spring wheats. Germination and stand establishment is good to excellent this year. The crop ranges up to the four leaf stage of development.
Hay fields are in fair to good condition, although some are suffering from excess moisture. There is an adequate to good supply of all classes of feed, including straw, for most of the region. Some shortages will be seen around Lake Manitoba due to continuing wet conditions. Quality of feed is good, with some issues were noted due rainfall. Greenfeed has average to above average yields. Livestock feeding is minimal. Most cattle are still on pasture, while others have been turned out on harvested crop land. Pastures are slowing in growth and weaning of spring calves is taking place. Dugouts range from 60 to 80% full.

Eastern Region

In the Eastern Region, harvest operations and fall field work continues with the favourable weather conditions. Harvest is estimated to be over 85% complete, with fall work at approximately 40% complete.  Good progress should continue to be made if the weather holds. By the end of the following week, a majority of the fall work will be done as long as rainfall remains absent. Soil moisture at this time is appropriate for all fall operations.
It has been one of the more stressful and challenging years in the region due to weather conditions. Excess moisture was a periodic problem, but the biggest frustration was the relatively insignificant rainfall events that impacted timely field operations.
Spring wheat yields are in the 60 to 80 bu/acre range. Quality in spring wheat has been impacted by weathering such as sprouting and mildew, which resulted in downgrading to feed in some cases. Fusarium head blight did impact some spring wheat crops, but not to the extent experienced in the winter wheat crop.
Oat yields are in the 100 bu/acre and higher range. Oat quality downgrades were due to light test weights and weathering.
Canola yields range from 30 to 50 bu/acre. Quality of the crop is good.
Soybean harvest is in full swing with yields in the 25 to over 45 bu/acre. Grain corn harvest is just starting and initial yield reports are in the 100 to 120 bu/acre range. Sunflower harvest has not started yet. Grain corn and sunflower qualities are still unknown.
The hay crop was above average in the region with quality ranging from slightly below average to good. A lot of hay was put up after the July rains. Second cut grass hay is in better condition with some producers just finishing up this week. Feed supplies in the eastern part of the province are in a surplus and most producers have more feed than needed. Feeding of livestock has started in some areas of the region as others are grazing hay fields. Cows and calves look in good condition with producers starting to ship calves. Availability of livestock water is rated as 100% adequate.

Interlake Region

Above seasonal temperatures with trace amounts of precipitation in the Interlake Region allowed producers to return to the fields to continue harvest.
The 2014 crop year has been less than ideal across the region. The crop year began late due to cool temperatures and above normal amounts of snowfall during the winter months. Most producers started to seed towards the end of May. South Interlake was able to start seeding a week or two earlier than the north Interlake. During the months of June and July, the entire Interlake Region was hit with excessive rainfalls that affected many acres of crop, hay land and pasture. During July, the flowering period of winter wheat saw heavy rainfalls and southerly winds which resulted in conditions conducive for fusarium head blight infection. Towards the end of July and throughout August, the weather turned around bringing more favourable conditions. However, harvest was delayed by a couple weeks due to late seeding and rainfalls.
Estimated harvest progress in the region is 90% complete. During the past week, producers were able to harvest many remaining acres. Spring wheat, oats, canola, soybeans, grain corn and sunflowers are still being harvested. Most cereals are standing with the exception of some oats which are being cut to be baled for greenfeed.
Winter wheat averaged 55 to 65 bu/acre with poor quality due to fusarium head blight. Fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) in winter wheat ranged anywhere from 1 to 3% and some samples were as high as 6 to 10%. Spring wheat averaged 40 to 50 bu/acre, with some producers averaging higher depending on the variety. According to grain elevators, spring wheat was impacted by mildew which brought some samples down to feed instead of #2 CWRS or #3 CWRS. Majority of spring wheat though this year is grading #2 CWRS or #3 CWRS. Oats did quite well this year with yields averaging 90 to 100 bu/acre and test weights averaging over 38 lbs/bu.
Canola was a difficult crop to harvest this year. Many producers left tough canola in swaths for well over 5 weeks before ideal harvest moisture levels were attained. This year, many producers left their canola crops standing to be straight combined which took longer than expected to get the favourable harvesting conditions.
Soybean harvest went smoothly with yields better than expected and moisture levels averaging anywhere from 10 to 14%. Soybean yields are anywhere from 30 to 40 bu/acre. Grain corn is still standing in fields with high moisture levels as of yet. Very little harvesting is done in corn so far.
Good drying weather this past week allowed for some combining and silage harvest throughout the region. Many fields are now dry enough to travel on with machinery. Second cut alfalfa and cereal silage operations are continuing; corn silaging is just starting. Cattle are being moved home or moved to graze harvested hay and/or annual cropland. Some feeding of cattle on pastures and weaning of calves is occurring. Very little native hay was harvested this season.